We still remember when we first saw photos of Hallstatt on Pinterest. It seemed like a town out of a fairytale and it took us awhile to believe that this tiny village is real. Set in the Austrian mountains overlooking a serene lake it didn’t seem any different in real life. It’s so picturesque and dreamy that we visited this place a handful of times. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about visiting Hallstatt in this blog post.
If you’re staying outside of Hallstatt your best bet is to rent a car. The roads in Austria are easy to navigate and countryside views are beautiful. Even though that Hallstatt is tucked between mountains, it is easily accessible.
Once there – by foot + boat. This village is so tiny and since only locals can actually drive through it, you will need to park your car in one of the many car parks just outside of Hallstatt and set on a foot adventure. We left our car on the car park P2 – this is also one of the two closer car parks and can save you some minutes of walk. The furthest car park also provides a shuttle on request. Once there, just follow the signs.
We’d recommend booking a lake view room (especially with a balcony!) in the centre of Hallstatt. It will allow you to fully enjoy Hallstatt even during peak visiting hours – you can go back to your hotel to sit out on the balcony and enjoy some coffee while looking at the pristine Hallstätter lake.
Some best stay suggestions:
- Hallstatt Hideaway – situated in the centre with amazing panoramic views of the lake and mountains
- Seehotel Grüner Baum – located right on the Marketplatz and the Hallstätter lake
Another option is to stay in Obertraun, a village 10 minutes away. Even if you don’t have a car, you can cross the lake with the boat.
Explore the town
Soak in Hallstatt’s charm and beauty by strolling the quaint streets of the town, taking in the Austrian style homes, and basking in that UNESCO World Heritage view.
UNESCO World Heritage view
Main sight which is also probably your main reason for visiting and where you want to show up EARLY (!).
Evangelical Church + Cemetery
Two of the iconic and unique places in Hallstatt. The views from the cemetery overlooking the church, lake and town are pretty spectacular (see below)!
Rent a boat
Rent a rowing boat or even an electric boat and explore the beautiful and serene Lake Hallstätter. You’ll see some of the best views are to be found from the lake itself.
The skywalk above Hallstatt offers stunning views over the mountains. Make sure to go early, as well. Tickets must be purchased in advance as they sell out quickly.
Stop for a scenic drink or bite to eat
Sit on one of the piers and enjoy the peaceful views
You’ll likely get a visit from swans!
See a nearby Gosausee
Another place to include in your trip to Hallstatt is Gosausee. It takes about 25 minutes to get there from Hallstatt with a car. The lake and its mountain views are stunning and it is the perfect place for a walk, away from all the tourists in Hallstatt. It takes about one hour to walk all around the lake and you will be glad you came. In the summer you can enjoy swimming here.
Hallstatt Salt Mines
A place we decided to skip, but perhaps you should consider visiting, since Hallstatt, meaning “place of salt”, is also home to the world’s first (known) salt mine.
Secret view point
Not too far away is one of our favourite hidden places in the world – approx. half an hour drive and you’ll arrive to what we describe “top of the world”. Go early to experience a cloud inversion and make sure to check the weather a day before. If you want to know the exact location with coordinates and a map click here.
Traditional Austrian food is absolutely delicious (apple strudel, anyone?), and many of the restaurants in Hallstatt have beautiful lakefront views. One of our favourite is traditional Gasthof Simony with a beautiful outdoor patio on the lake!
WHEN TO GO
We personally think that nothing compares to the beauty of seeing Hallstatt covered in fresh blanket of snow. Spring would be our second favourite choice. But really, any season will do – if possible though, try to avoid the peak season, which is mostly in the summer as well as September with a slight peak around the holidays in January. And try to go on weekdays for less tourists.
HOW MANY DAYS
While we definitely recommend staying overnight, you’ll probably only need 1 (or 2 nights max) to explore the town and surrounding area.
We found Hallstatt to be a little pricier – we’d pay 1-2x more than what we’d normally pay. Below is an example of what we paid for two coffees, but of course this depends on the bar/restaurant and its location. Overall, we’d say prices are similar to the UK.
WHAT TO BRING
- Good shoes – as you’ll be doing plenty of walking
- Warm clothes – if you’re visiting in winter winters can be pretty harsh
- Camera – make sure you have your camera on you at all times because the views of the Europe’s most beautiful villages are so picturesque
- Spend the night to avoid the day trippers and peak times. It will allow you to have the early mornings and evenings to yourself to enjoy this Alpine village in twilight.
- Book your stay well ahead since the town’s UNESCO World Heritage view has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe with tourists flocking by the busload. With 600,000 people visiting Hallstatt, a small town of only 750 residents easily gets overbooked and you can find yourself having a hard time booking a place to stay last minute. There’s no denying that Hallstatt is touristic at this point.
- Wake up early – always helps to beat the crowds, even though in Hallstatt you may be surprised by how many people will actually do the same to catch the sunrise show. Still worth it, otherwise you’ll be fighting crowds for the view.
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Has Hallstatt been on your must-see destination list?